Chumming the Upwork shark tank

Ever see those “Shark Week” commercials where a scientist dumps buckets of bloody mackerel over the side of a boat until the water is frothing with Great Whites? This weekend I felt a lot like the bait… I needed some data collection done. There’s an online directory of 400 companies in a market that I’m […]

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Apple’s copywriting voodoo (a tip from the iPhone 6s launch)

This week Apple announced a brand new iPhone feature that promises to do away with those grainy, poorly lit selfies. They call it: Front-Facing True-Tone Retina Flash The front camera on my iPhone 5 has always bugged me, so my first thought when I heard the news was “Sweet!” Then I thought about it for […]

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Want more referrals? Start with this.

Recently a friend told me about one of his clients—let’s call him “Alan.” Alan had a SERIOUS problem. He owned a large and successful personal injury lawfirm. And since personal injury cases are a huge cashcow for attorneys, the competition for advertising is a knifefight. In some cities, lawyers fork over $50, $80 or even […]

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An Email Marketing Lesson from Optimus Prime

In response to my call for email marketing questions, reader Nathan says: How do I come up with another kick butt freebie? FlippedLifestyle recommends that I wow them by sending the freebie for which they signed up, then throw them an unexpected, bonus freebie. I’ve tried asking them directly in the past. (My list is […]

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Genius “new baby” marketing gambit

When my oldest son was born, the docs had barely scrubbed the ink off his tiny feet before the marketing started. The beaming nurses handed us a “new parents kit”—a bag bulging with free goodies. Mostly these were samples from companies like Huggies and Enfamil, eager to grab a new customer. But a few sly […]

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This Email Needs an Emergency Root Canal

Email copy clinic is in session. Recently I was working with an entrepreneur, who I’ll call Sam. Sam has a 7-figure business providing marketing services for small businesses—mostly dentists. He’s a superstar marketer in a lot of ways—but his autoresponder sequence is a massive pile of fail. That’s why he was talking to me. Dentists […]

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“It’s Not Long Enough”

Got a voicemail from a client the other day, wondering about the copy I’d written for his sales page: “Is this all, or were you planning to write more?” he asked. “I thought it would be longer.” If you hang around with marketers for even a little while, you’ll discover that there’s a HUGE debate […]

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Kill the “Powered by KingSumo” Badge on Your Giveaway Landing Page

One common question I get is this: “How do I remove the ‘Powered by KingSumo’ badge on my giveaway landing page?” People are nervous about their competitors noticing what they’re doing and spinning up a giveaway of their own. That’s understandable–after all, I found out about KingSumo Giveaways from clicking that very badge on a […]

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How to Create Your Own Viral Giveaway with KingSumo

To run a contest with the KingSumo Giveaways plugin, here’s what you need: A website or blog that runs on WordPress The ability to install WordPress plugins (wordpress.com sites won’t work) The ability to send emails from your website. Installing the KingSumo plugin KingSumo Giveaways is a premium WordPress plugin, and it installs just like […]

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Table flips and karate punches

At my day job (I’m a programmer when I’m not writing sales copy), we talk to other remote team members with an instant message program called HipChat. It includes some fun “emoticons,” including this one: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Can you see it? The little dude flipping the table in rage? Lately I’ve been using that icon […]

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4 ways to jump start a new email list with a small budget

I’m a member of a small Google group that likes to talk about marketing, and recently one of the members, James, posed an interesting question. One of his clients is a novelist who is trying to build an email list to help market a novel. And James has no idea where to start: Assuming I […]

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How an old copywriting trick can get your ideas heard

During my workout this morning at the local YMCA, I noticed a couple of the other lifters gathered around a small placard on the decline bench press station. I hit pause on The Fizzle Show (awesome podcast, by the way, you should subscribe) and wandered closer to hear what was going on. The little card, […]

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Is Twitter a waste of time for an email marketer?

Last week while we were recording the Entreprogrammers Podcast, John Sonmez hit me with a painful proposition: Has my entire marketing strategy for my books been wrong? Let me back up. Over the last couple of months, sales of my two Sublime Text books have tapered off. I recognized the downward trend in April, and […]

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Why I don’t mow my own lawn

As I’m sitting here, writing this, my neighbor’s lawn mower is whining away in the background. Last spring, I probably would have been out there with him. Not this year. Early each Monday morning, usually as I’m working on my latest Sublime Text-related blog post, a pickup truck with a trailer rolls up in front […]

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One marketing lesson I literally had *beaten* into me …

Of all the sparring partners in my karate class, I feared Adam the most. I was a skinny teenager, maybe 120 pounds soaking wet. Adam was a college student, about my height but built. He had at least 60 pounds of muscle on me. One evening we were squared off, circling each other and throwing […]

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When I get stuck, here’s how I break through

The little group of Jamaican children kept glancing at me. And pointing. And giggling. I was 17 at the time, and visiting Jamaica as part of a church group on a mission trip. We helped to convert an old warehouse into a church/school building, and it was the pre-teen future pupils who were getting such […]

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How a 5 minute conversation saved me from a $4,416.22 mistake

I lost my nerve. That’s it, plain and simple. I’d spent hundreds of hours researching, outlining, writing and editing my second book. And the more time I spent on the project, the less confident I felt that anyone would buy it. After all, I hadn’t done much research with my audience to confirm that this […]

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Grow your email list (and sales) by avoiding this common mistake

A few weeks ago, I was talking with another self-published author, comparing notes about how we market our books. His sales had slowed recently, and his email signups had dropped off as well. He wasn’t sure what was causing the issue, but as we talked, one root cause became apparent. He admitted that he’d gotten […]

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How a simple tool helps me write headlines with confidence

In many cases, the success of a blog post or sales page rests on the strength of the headline. Says David Ogilvy, among the most successful copywriters of all time: On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent […]

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Setting up Google Analytics goals for a DPD shopping cart

I’m in the middle of what I’m calling Marketing Month. (It started as Marketing March and has now bled into April.) My main goal for the past few weeks–and the coming weeks as well–is to get a better handle on which of my marketing efforts are most effective, and then find ways to do more […]

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